Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 9, 2013

U.S. Army to allow MSU ROTC to stay open

Staff report
The Independent

MOREHEAD — U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell received word Wednesday that the United States Army has agreed to allow the Morehead State University’s ROTC program to stay open for two years to allow it to improve its officer production rates. This is a reversal of the Army’s previous decision to close the program.

“Morehead State University would like to thank Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Hal Rogers, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Steve Beshear, and others for their hard work on behalf of our ROTC program,” said MSU President Dr. Wayne Andrews. “MSU’s program performs at a very high level. ROTC is an integral part of the University and we are delighted about the decision to continue the program.”

In late August, McConnell was contacted by Andrews asking for his assistance in helping keep the ROTC program open at the university. McConnell contacted the United States Army, on behalf of MSU, and urged the Army to reconsider its plan to close the university’s ROTC program.

In a letter to the Army, McConnell expressed concerns raised by MSU regarding reports the Army may be considering closing their ROTC program. McConnell also recognized the achievements of the MSU cadets and the program’s importance to the community. The MSU cadets were ranked first in 2011 in the Army Cadet Command’s national Order of Merit list. McConnell also said the graduating class is scheduled to be MSU’s largest commissioning class since 1985, and MSU anticipates continued program growth in the coming years.

“Morehead State University’s ROTC program has a rich history on campus and is strongly supported by the university and local community,” McConnell said. “Today’s announcement is outstanding news for the university, the cadets and their supporters. I appreciate the Army listening to our concerns and allowing this program to remain active so the students can continue to serve the university and their country.”

MSU’s Eagle Battalion was activated Jan. 1, 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War when other colleges and universities were discussing closing their military programs. The University’s program has continually grown during the past nearly five decades with more than 600 officers being commissioned.

The quality of MSU’s program is nationally known with a number of cadets highly ranked according to the “National Order of Merit” list. For example, in 2006-07, MSU Cadet Shannon Niki Martin was ranked third out of 3,806 cadets from 272 universities across the nation. In 2010-11, MSU Cadet Commander Wesley Tudor was ranked number one out of 5,342 cadets from 272 universities across the nation.